In Search of Lost Lines.

Link to today’s strip

Poor Ruby looks so sad in panel 3. Like she is distraught over the memory of her lost creations, a metaphorical mother missing the beauty she had given life to.I’m calling it right now, Chester Hagglemore has some of her original stuff in his collection that Mindy will twist him into gifting back to her in return for her doing some variant Atomik Komiks covers.

She’ll be so happy to have her poor stolen progeny back in her possession once more! Except, you know, she sold those babies for money, knowing full well that the original pencils would likely be destroyed.

And yet her work remains, in every copy of her comics that still exists. Why don’t they just blow up some old panels, and put them on the wall?

At the time, comics artists and writers were workers for hire, with the understanding that the company that hired them owned what they produced. I think it’s nice, and fair, that today comics artists are returned their work, and are even allowed to duplicate some of it, so they can resell it to collectors and fans. Every TFCon and Botcon I’ve attended has had comic artists there selling posters of covers, prints, and even the original line art.

But I don’t think it was an gross injustice when the comics companies considered the art their property, and no longer the original artists, since it was bought and paid for by mutual agreement.

I know that I’ve been Wiki linking all week, and sorry to those of you who would prefer me to pick apart the art or go off on wacky tangents. Or just post a short paragraph and shut up. But, honestly, fact checking this plotline has become a compulsion for me. Because I know that Batiuk has a deep knowledge of comics history, and I also don’t trust him for an instant to not warp that truth to suit his own narrative.

Here’s the wiki article for Creator Ownership in Comics. Most notable:
“Up to the mid-1970s, most comic book publishers kept all original pages, in some cases destroying them in lieu of storing them safely… By 1975 or 1976, both DC and Marvel also began returning artist’s original pages to them.”

18 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

18 responses to “In Search of Lost Lines.

  1. billytheskink

    According to TB, the comics publishers returned all of his artwork back in the day…

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Yep, here’s a strip that maybe a dozen people on the planet can relate to. Comic book artists not owning their original work…will these grave injustices ever cease? What makes it even funnier is how Mindy is wearing some of Ruby’s old artwork right now.

  3. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Panel #4: “My boss, Mr. Harshman, would use my drawings to light his cigars.”

  4. spacemanspiff85

    Batiuk’s writing is particularly terrible here. “Do you have some of work in the show here in the gallery?” How clunky. “Do you have anything on display?” would’ve been just fine, and something a normal human being might saying, especially since the next panel clearly shows that it’s a gallery, just in case nobody caught that in the first panel.

  5. Paul Jones

    In hindsight, we should have seen “weeping about being exploited by corporate overlords” taking precedence over “being marginalized by pea-brained chauvinists” coming owing to a pea-brained chauvinist who wants to be the maniac suing people writing this slop.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    So is this the story now? We’re going to play “Terms of Endearment” over Ruby Lith wanting her original artwork back? Christ.

  7. Count of Tower Grove

    P’shaw! Rubella has been paid for her original works by her boss back in the day, and now is being paid to recreate them. It reminds me of the Three Stooges, who were contracted for $900 a week each by Columbia that stipulated they would receive no residuals, and so they went back on the road, made several bad features films, and a cartoon series.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah really. Ruby never says she created the character, just that she drew it. This would have been done under some kind of work-for-hire arrangement, that no doubt gave intellectual property rights to the syndicate. So I’m not sure what the injustice is here.

      $50 says this happened to Mr. Batiuk, and this arc is the airing of his greivance. Against that mean ol’ syndicate that apparently lets him draw whatever he wants at all times.

  8. I can’t add anything, other than Lith looking more and more like Dinkle, but I’d like to praise CBH for her excellent work on this arc.

  9. timbuys

    That line about the artwork being destroyed in lieu of being stored safely put me in mind of the whole Universal fire that was reported on a month ago.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gqwvb3/universal-music-group-took-down-after-the-smokes-music

  10. Professor Fate

    Good point about how the art was regarded as a work for hire back in the day.
    However my main reaction to this stirp was ‘oh god we are going to have at least another week of this.’ Rudy is yet another FW sad sack who is content to moan about the injustices done to them but do NOTHING ABOUT IT. It’s obvious she’s done exactly zilch about getting her artwork back – in marked contrast to other comic book artists and writers who have gotten theirs back. (yes some of them had to go to court but they did something). It’s one of the author’s most annoying traits. Again and again we meet people who do nothing for YEARS (Cliff what’s his name sitting in his apartment for decades comes to mind) until one of the regulars shows up and hey presto the problem she is solved! Real people have agency but in the funkyverse passive acceptance of one’s lot is the norm. (St Lisa’s sitting in a corner waiting to die is the most prominent example of this.) It is one of the things that makes these characters so unlikable.

  11. matt2amy

    Is that supposed to be “re-creations”, by the way?